The City of Roses will once again serve as the backdrop for one of the country’s top U15 football tournaments, following great success in hosting last year’s Nationals. The 2017 COPA Coca-Cola National Finals will be played at the Mangaung Outdoor Sports Complex in Bloemfontein between 28th and 30th September 2017.
The 2017 edition of the COPA Coca-Cola tournament has reached the business end of the season with the National Finals coming after a long, challenging district, regional and the recently concluded provincial playoff phase, in which the country’s best U15 schools sides will battle against each other to determine the 2017 South African champions.
“As Coca-Cola we are glad that we are still able to connect young, aspiring footballers with their passion of the beautiful game through the COPA Coca-Cola tournament, as it has remained their number one destination to celebrate their talent. Each year the standard of football is raised and this year was no different which bodes well for the development of football in the country. We expect another gruelling National Finals contest as the best meet the best and we would like to wish all the nine teams the best of luck,” said Phindi Phiri, Marketing Assets Manager at Coca-Cola South Africa.
“We urge local scouts to come out and witness these young people express their talent during this tournament synonymous globally with developing and unearthing future footballing stars”, she added.
Qalabotjha Secondary School from the Fezile Dabi District will look to capitalise on their home ground advantage after they emerged as the COPA Coca-Cola Free State provincial champions at the end of August. The host school will look to ward off the challenges of other provincial champions in a showdown that will result in the winning school taking home R80 000 along with the celebrated title of COPA Coca-Cola Champions for 2017.
Clapham High School, COPA Coca-Cola champions in 2014 and 2015, will want to have a say in that however. They are back in the National Finals this year following a closely contested penalty-shoot out win over School of Excellence to win the Gauteng Provincials title. They looked impressive during their Provincials.
Orion High School from the Northern Cape, who shone in their Provincial finals, are expected to challenge for honours as well while the hard-working and focused Charles Morgan Combined School will also have their eyes fixed on the big prize. Charles Morgan will be representing the Eastern Cape.
Also expected to give the Gauteng, Eastern and Northern Cape champions a stern test are KwaZulu Natal champions, Dr J.L. Dube High School.
The school from Kwa-Mashu will want to proudly take the crown back to KZN following the failure of their neighbours and 2016 champions, J.G. Zuma High School, to make it to the National Finals.
This year’s National Finals are expected to produce fireworks.
“It is with great pleasure to congratulate all the learners that had an opportunity to experience the COPA Coca-Cola tournament this season right through the regions and the selected clusters with a view of broadening participation. The tournament speaks directly to the aspirations of the golden age in football development which is between the ages of 13 to 15 years, as talented youngsters who aspire to be household names in the near future. SASFA is proud of the strides and impact that this program has achieved since we began this road with our esteemed partners and sponsors, Coca-Cola. We have created an enabling environment for Talent Identification specialists who have found this platform to be a catalyst for the acceleration of development of football in South Africa,” said an elated Mandla ‘Shoes’ Mazibuko, the President of SA Schools Football Association.
The communities of Bloemfontein will also be treated to a curtain-raiser between the COPA Coca-Cola ‘Which Part Will You Play’ all-star team, which comprises of 11 players who embody the different Archetypes chosen to match the characteristics needed to form the perfect team. These Archetypes include; The Heart, The Mastermind, The Perfectionist, The Rebel, The Machine, The Legend, The Rock, The Artist, The Underdog, The Impossible and The Joker.
The COPA Coca-Cola ‘Which Part Will You Play’ all-star team will play against the Bloemfontein Celtic U-15 academy team in a curtain raiser ahead of the final.
The same All-Star team will also play in the COPA Coca-Cola Global Tournament, featuring 14 countries, to be hosted for the first time on African soil by Coca-Cola South Africa in Durban in early October.
Schools will receive prizes to the value of the below in the form of stationery, training equipment and upgrades to the school
Winning school – R80, 000
Runners up – R50, 000
3rd place winners – R45, 000
Schools/teams that will participate in the 2017 COPA Coca Cola National Finals:
1. Orion High School – Northern Cape
2. Charles Morgan Combined School – Eastern Cape
3. Bastiaanse Secondary School – Western Cape
4. Dr J.L Dube High School – Kwazulu Natal
5. Clapham High School – Gauteng
6. Qalabotjha Secondary School – Free State
7. Dira Kanatla High School – North West
8. Benny’s Sports Development School – Limpopo
9. Khayalami Secondary School – Mpumalanga